Officials underline importance of staying mentally healthy during coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 8:54 AM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 11:54:53-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — We all know there is a lot of bad news out there right now, and it can be mentally taxing. The Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (KernBHRS) crisis line usually gets around 100 calls a day, but lately, they're getting more.

"40 to 50 more a day just on COVID-19 on our hotline," said Bill Walker, Director of KernBHRS.

The last couple of weeks have been challenging, with over 1 million people filing for unemployment in California, most live entertainment being put on halt, and everyone being told to stay inside.

"It's very clear that the more time you spend cooped up, the more that works on you mentally and physically," Walker said.

The coronavirus outbreak is taking a toll on many of us, whether you want to admit it or not. But Walker says it's probably better to admit that.

The easiest way to get healthy if you're sick is to see a doctor and deal with it, not ignore it. The easiest way to get healthy emotionally is to acknowledge and feel it and deal with it and not try to ignore it," he said.

Walker says their hotline is equipped for people in mental crisis, but it also acts as what they call a "warm line," which is built for people who just need to talk.

"I don't want to say this to my friends, but I want to say it to somebody, so somebody's hearing me. That's a great time to call a hotline or a warm line," he said.

Some things that can improve your mental health during the crisis, Walker says, are keeping up with friends and family through facetime, doing at least a little bit of home exercise regularly, and incorporating those things into a routine for your day at home.

"Don't absorb yourself only into the crisis, if all your doing is checking the news feeds on the crisis, the stock market, all the bad news, bad in, bad out."

If you're having a mental crisis, or just want to talk to someone, the behavioral health hotline is 1-800-991-5272.